The Mornington Peninsula’s Zak Stolz has taken out the Season 5 final of Australian Ninja Warrior. The 22-year-old, who made the grand final in Season 3, beat fellow Peninsula competitor Charlie Robbins in Stage 3 of tonight’s final and said the win was unbelievable.
“Honestly, it was such a surreal moment and I didn’t believe it had happened, so I was constantly asking people ‘Did it happen? Did it actually happen?’ then triple-checking for confirmation,” Zak said. “Moving forward in life has now become something I can genuinely visualise as happening and not just dream about. One hundred thousand dollars is a ridiculous amount of money to cop in one hit, but it certainly won’t go to waste.”
Zak was one of five Peninsula residents who took part in the 2021 season of Australian Ninja Warrior on Channel 9 alongside more than 200 competitors. The other ‘Peninjas’ were Charlie, Troy Cullen, Ashlin Herbert and Sarah Blackmore. In an interview with Mornington Peninsula Magazine this month, the timberyard worker, gymnastics coach and student says next on the agenda is completing his degree, riding out the pandemic and travelling before beginning to plan the rest of his life.
“Personally, I found this year’s course to be hands down the most difficult of the lot. Not only were the obstacles new and very difficult to emulate in training, the standard of competitors is ever-increasing at the same rate, so it’s almost a wombo-combo of increased pressure. My training process probably looked identical to the other Peninjas. We do our best to enjoy every moment of it and keep it as light and fun as possible. I’m a firm believer of the statement ‘If you love your job, you’ll never work a day in your life’. This is exactly the same.”